A Big Hoop-De-Do Over Chris Brown
An after-hours pickup basketball game turned into a gawker-crazed sideshow at the University of Mary Washington on Tuesday when it turned out that one of the players -- surprise! -- was Chris Brown.
The news spread quickly across the Fredericksburg, Va., campus, via Twitter, text and old-fashioned word-of-mouth, and soon a couple of hundred students gathered to stare at the most controversial figure in pop music, cavorting up and down the court of Goolrick Gym.
Ironic, considering the small public college is midway through White Ribbon Week, which raises awareness of domestic violence. The R&B singer, 19, is charged with battering girlfriend Rihanna in L.A. in February.
That was no turnoff for the dozens of students who clamored to shake hands with the star or get a photo. A shaky video of Brown's unimpressive game made it onto TMZ.com within hours.
"I had the courage to go up and ask for a hug," Ako Nagahama, a 19-year-old sophomore from Virginia Beach, told us. Brown complied with a smile, and then "everyone else lined up for a hug."
Sigh. Kids, what were you thinking?!? Nagahama admitted the whole episode evoked complex emotions. "Before the [Rihanna] incident, I was basically in love with him," she said. "I'm still his fan," but "it sucks he did that."
Even weirder, she said: the number of students standing around watching while making domestic-violence jokes within his earshot. (An organizer of the White Ribbon campaign quietly circulated through the room handing out pamphlets.)
But what was Brown doing there? The student-run newspaper The Bullet reports in Thursday's edition that the Tappahannock,Va., native came to Mary Washington with an old friend who is considering enrolling there.
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